Thursday, November 27, 2008

David Lee Hall

Married 36 years, 3 Children, & 7 Grandchildren
Member McDermott Road Church of Christ

Abilene Christian University 1972
BS Mathematics w/minors in Physics & Business

Marine Corps Officer
Petroleum Industry
Price Waterhouse Consultant
Systems Consulting Business / International Entrepreneur
Adjunct Professor Cisco / Public School Teacher Responsive Education Solutions

Public School Administrator / Auditor for
Responsive Education Solutions
32 Campuses Across Texas – 10 New Campuses 2008
Accredited by Southern Association of Colleges & Schools

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Texas Independence From Pearson Publishing

Pearson (British company with US Headquarters in New Jersey) has entirely too much influence in Texas, and it is not apparent why this is case, but this injustice needs to be remedied. The TAKS Tests and Text Books that Pearson (and its related entities) produce would have been great when it was established in 1724 www.pearson.com. However, now Texas needs to move into the 21st Century cutting inappropriate ties to the old world, starting with Pearson, just like our ancestors did in 1776 after they realized how they were being treated badly with no recourse.

Text books, and paper-based non-interactive standardized tests, including the TAKS tests are antiquated, counter-productive, and quite harmful. They should be replaced with computer based systems similar to the CPA, GMAT, and ACT tests. These can be taken on demand with multiple iterations as needed, since the questions are selected at random from a database of questions, which are dynamically modified to assure proper evaluations.

Additionally, these types of automated online input testing systems can customize later questions based on which earlier questions have been answered correctly. This provides a better view of the true capabilities of the person being tested. Also, this approach can provide immediate, focused, and custom feedback which allows the tests to be a learning experience in addition to an evaluation.

Some persons (including text book company representatives) have asked if technology companies are providing me campaign contributions because of these views. My Answer is that, as yet, I have not accepted any campaign contributions, and will move forward without any as long as possible. However, if I later accept campaign contributions, it will not be with the intent of voting for programs intended to benefit special interests like Pearson, similar vendors, or other entities that are impeding progress.

There is a place for printed books (I own many myself) but not printed textbooks, work books are helpful in many situations, and various other printed materials can accomodate certain learning styles. However, standardized tests, text books, and most other instructional aides should be delivered via computer systems. We should use the Texas Text Book Fund for those instead of printed text books.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Teacher Health Care

Premiums in Dallas and other districts across the state start with a $225 monthly payment per employee – including $150 in local money and $75 from the state. The state kicks in extra money for districts unable to come up with the $150 payment on their own and local districts may add more.

In Dallas, teachers and other full-time employees are charged an additional $24 a month for the basic coverage option – TRS-ActiveCare 1 – and $106 a month for the enhanced coverage of TRS-ActiveCare 2. The third and most expensive option – TRS-ActiveCare 3 – is purchased by few employees because of its monthly cost to them of $221.

Family coverage adds $398 more a month for the basic plan and $603 for the level-two plan, the most popular option among employees.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas handles claims and payments in the PPO plan under a contract with the state that was agreed to in 2002 and has been extended. The state also gives many members an option to enroll in one of five HMOs that offer coverage in certain parts of Texas – but more than 90 percent of school employees are in the PPO plan operated by Blue Cross.

SOURCE: Dallas Morning News research

Educators should be provided the option for Health Savings Accounts (HSA) described below:

Using your HSA for Covered Qualified Expenses
You can choose to use your HSA funds to pay for qualified medical expenses (for example, office visits, lab work and prescription drugs) before you have met your annual deductible. These covered expenses will still count toward your annual deductible.

Using Your HSA for Uncovered Qualified Expenses
You may also choose to use your HSA funds for qualified services not covered by the health plan, such as dental care, weight loss programs and eyeglasses. These expenses, however, do not count toward your annual deductible.

Your Annual Deductible
If you prefer, you can save any or all of your HSA funds and pay for your medical expenses out of pocket until you meet your annual deductible. Once you've met this, additional health care expenses are covered by your medical plan, but you can still use your HSA funds to pay for fixed expenses such as co-payments.

Carrying an Account Balance
If you don't use all of your HSA dollars, the remaining amount will carry over into the next year.

Providing the HSA option will give our Educators more control, flexibility, and transparency for the health insurance. If there is any question about the desire for this option by Educators then a poll should be conducted explaining possible options.